A Celebration of All Things Cultural, Artistic, and Entertaining in Madison
Sep 1, 2010
02:15 PM

Back to the Music

Back to the Music

It’s back-to-school time and this transition into autumn always makes me wonder what the UW School of Music is up to. As usual, there are more concerts offered than even the most passionate music lover can likely take in. They range from student ensembles to faculty concerts to guest artist performances—and nearly all events are free and open to the public. I asked concert manager and director of public relations Rick Mumford to share exactly what the school has in store this season.

How did you approach planning the 2010–2011 season of the School of Music?

The School of Music is a community of performers, scholars, staff and students. When it comes to planning, there’s no super-chief artistic director calling the shots! In fact, you could almost conceive of it as an array of weavers, all contributing their creativity and expertise to a multi-hued texture that unfolds as a concert season. They include the directors of choirs, bands, orchestras, opera and specialized ensembles and the undergraduate and graduate students who study and perform under their guidance. And none of it could happen without the inspired dedication of the studio teachers of every instrument and voice.

What’s new or different this season?

Without trying to sound flippant, either nothing or everything is new. To a certain extent, the School of Music does the same things every year—educating students to develop skills as critical thinkers, coaching them to achieve high levels of mastery on their instrument/voice and advancing their ability to collaborate with their peers. On the other hand, each performance is a fresh idea brought to fruition. This fall’s concerts by the Choral Union and Chamber Orchestra, for instance, represent the combined work of close to two hundred musicians from campus and community who have never been in exactly that same configuration before, presenting a work (Handel’s Israel in Egypt, November 20–21) that probably only a few have ever performed in any previous concert experience.

What are some traditions arts lovers can expect each year from the School?

The variety and sheer number of concerts continue year after year. By some counts, the School of Music presents more than three hundred performances yearly, and nearly all of them are free in 2010–11. The public is welcome to everything, from student recitals that may be less than an hour long to full concerts by the Symphony Orchestra, Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, Concert Choir and Javanese Gamelan. The Faculty Concert Series continues to be the school’s signature brand, showcasing the distinguished artists of the school’s faculty. Throughout the year, guest artists come to campus to perform (sometimes as soloists, other times with student ensembles) and most often lead master classes for UW students that are also open to the public. The best way to keep track of this is either to have a family member at the school or, better yet, to keep watching the events calendar on the web at music.wisc.edu/calendar. (Note that you need to check “show student recitals” to have them appear.)

The 2010–2011 season is UW’s Year of the Arts. How is the School of Music fitting into that?

We’ve designated a few programs as highlights for the Year of the Arts, representing a cross-section of ensembles and repertoire. They’re identified in the current season brochure, and include the Pro Arte Quartet (September 25), the Wind Ensemble Collage concert (October 8) and the UW Jazz Orchestra’s one hundredth anniversary commemoration of jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams (December 1).

What are some highlights of the new season that Madisonians shouldn’t miss?

It’s hard to pick only a few, and each concertgoer’s interests and schedule will dictate his or her own choices. Chamber music offerings this fall alone stagger the imagination, from the Karp family’s thirty-fourth opening concert on Labor Day (September 6) through the hot JACK Quartet, a string quartet that gets frequent mention in the New York Times (November 10). The principal bassoonist of the Minnesota Orchestra, John Miller, joins faculty bassoonist Marc Vallon in performing a double bassoon concerto with the UW Chamber Orchestra on the afternoon of Sunday, October 10. And the UW Madrigal Singers are presenting Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 under conductor Bruce Gladstone on November 7. Our director of graduate studies told me this morning we are welcoming fifty-five new grad students this fall, more than we were expecting. It’s going to be another stimulating and eventful year at our corner of campus!

Here’s a look at fall and winter events in the School of Music’s new season:

Nay Palm Bones
Guest Artist Series
September 3, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

34th Karp Family Opening Concert
Faculty Concert Series
September 6, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

John Aley, trumpet, and Martha Fischer, piano
Faculty Concert Series
September 11, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

Mimmi Fulmer, soprano
Sunday Afternoon Live
September 12, 12:30 p.m., Chazen Museum of Art

Suzanne Beia, violin, Karl Lavine, violoncello, and Karen Boe, piano
Faculty Concert Series
September 22, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Black Music Ensemble
September 23, 8:30 p.m., Morphy Hall

Pro Arte Quartet
Faculty Concert Series
September 25, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

Pro Arte Quartet
Sunday Afternoon Live
September 26, 12:30 p.m., Chazen Museum of Art

Les Thimmig, woodwinds, Matan Rubinstein, piano
Faculty Concert Series
September 26, 2 p.m., Mills Hall

Christopher Taylor
Faculty Concert Series
October 1, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

Symphony Orchestra
October 3, 2 p.m., Mills Hall

Wind Ensemble Collage
October 8, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

Chamber Orchestra with Marc Vallon and John Miller, bassoon
Guest Artist Series
October 10, 2 p.m., Mills Hall

Trio Antigo
Guest Artist Series
October 16, 4 p.m., Mills Hall

Choral Collage
October 17, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Adam Unsworth, horn
Guest Artist Series
October 17, 7:30 p.m., Morphy Hall

Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
October 20, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Neeraj Mehta, perussion
Guest Artist Series
October 21, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Wind Ensemble
October 22, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

Jeri-Mae Astolfi, piano
Guest Artist Series
October 22, 8 p.m., Morphy Hall

John Chappell Stowe, harpsichord
Faculty Concert Series
October 23, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

Wisconsin Brass Quintet
Sunday Afternoon Live
October 23, 12:30 p.m., Chazen Museum of Art

Concert Band
October 24, 2 p.m., Mills Hall

University Band
October 24, 4 p.m., Mills Hall

Pro Arte Quartet
October 28, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

University Opera with Symphony Orchestra: Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi
October 29 at 7:30 p.m., October 30 at 3 p.m. and November 2 at 7:30 p.m., Music Hall
Tickets: $20, $18 seniors and non-UW–Madison students, $10 UW–Madison students

Wisconsin Brass Quintet with Martha Fischer, piano
Faculty Concert Series
October 30, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

Pro Arte Quartet
Sunday Afternoon Live
October 31, 12:30 p.m., Chazen Museum of Art

Symphony Strings
November 3, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Chamber Orchestra
November 4, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Parry Karp, violoncello
Faculty Concert Series
November 5, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

Concert Choir
November 6, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

Tyrone Greive, violin, and Ellen Burmeister, piano
Faculty Concert Series
November 6, 8 p.m., Morphy Hall

Horn Choir
November 7, 2 p.m., Mills Hall

Madrigal Singers: Vespers of 1610
November 7, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Little Big Band
November 9, 7:30 p.m., Morphy Hall

Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel
November 9, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall
Tickets: $30, free to UW–Madison students

JACK Quartet
Guest Artist Series
November 10, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Wind Ensemble Chamber Winds
November 11, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Black Music Ensemble
November 11, 8:30 p.m., Morphy Hall

November 13, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

Parry Karp, violoncello
Sunday Afternoon Live
November 14, 12:30 p.m., Chazen Museum of Art

Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble
November 14, 6:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Marc Vallon, bassoon, Dawn Lawler, flute, and Karen Beth Atz, harp
Faculty Concert Series
November 15, 7:30 p.m., Morphy Hall

Mark Hetzler, trombone, Martha Fischer and Jessica Johnson, piano, Todd Hammes, drums and percussion
Faculty Concert Series
November 16, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Gramercy Trio
Guest Artist Series
November 17, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Guitar Ensemble
November 18, 8:30 p.m., Morphy Hall

University Chorus and Women’s Chorus
November 19, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

Ronald Leonard, violoncello, and Christopher Taylor, piano
Guest Artist Series
November 19, 8 p.m., Morphy Hall

Ronald Leonard, cello master class
Guest Artist Series
November 20, 10 a.m., Morphy Hall

Choral Union with Chamber Orchestra: Israel in Egypt
November 20 at 8 p.m., November 21 at 4 p.m., Mills Hall
Tickets: $15, $8 seniors and students

Opera Workshop
November 23, 7:30 p.m., Music Hall

Concert Band
November 23, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Early Music Ensemble
November 30, 8:30 p.m., Morphy Hall

Jazz Orchestra: 100th Anniversary Tribute to Mary Lou Williams
December 1, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Wind Ensemble
December 3, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

World Percussion Ensemble
December 4, 12 p.m., Music Hall

All University String Orchestra
December 4, 4 p.m., Mills Hall

Pro Arte Quartet
Sunday Afternoon Live
December 5, 12:30 p.m., Chazen Museum of Art

Winter Chorale Concerts
December 5, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Luther Memorial Church

University Bands
December 5, 4 p.m., Mills Hall

Master Singers
December 6, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Western Percussion Ensemble
December 7, 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall

Wingra Woodwind Quartet
Faculty Concert Series
December 8, 7:30 p.m., Morphy Hall

Symphony Orchestra
December 10, 8 p.m., Mills Hall

For more information on the School of Music, visit music.wisc.edu. An updated calendar of events may be found at music.wisc.edu/calendar. To request a concert season brochure and opera brochure, call 263.1900 or email music@music.wisc.edu. To receive the weekly Digest, send your email address to music@music.wisc.edu. For a weekly recorded summary of concerts, call the Concert Line at 263.9485.

Photo of UW Chorale courtesy of the UW School of Music.

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About This Blog

As managing editor at Madison Magazine, I'm also an unabashed arts enthusiast. Paintings, plays, music, movies—I'm intrigued by all forms of creative expression. I enjoy talking with artists and sharing their insights, challenges, inspirations and latest endeavors. Check in regularly for details on events, previews and reviews, artist interviews and more! 

– Katie Vaughn
Follow Katie on Twitter @katiemv

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